THE PARABLE OF THE SEED
It is remarkable that Mark is the only one who preserved a record of this parable. Jesus spoke it immediately after giving the parable of the sower. However, it differs greatly from the parable of the sower. Both parables are based the figure or imagery of the seed cast into the ground. In both parables the seed represents the saving word of God or the gospel of our salvation. The field represents the hearers, those who have had the word of God proclaimed to them. The man who sows the seed represents Christians, men and women, who plant the gospel into the hearts of men, women and children. Christians are all sowers, for we laborers upon the farm of God. We are the servants of God into whose hands the gospel is given. The seed belongs to God, but we do the sowing, or we might say Christ does the sowing through us. Every person, especially every teacher, is a sower. His apostles, ministers evangelists, Sunday school teachers and personal workers have been sowing the gospel down through the long centuries, since the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem when it all started. The harvest is the end of the world, or perhaps and more likely, the death of the individual Christian.
There is not universal agreement on the meaning of this parable. It seems to me to be related to the parable of the sower, for this little parable immediately follows it. I think some indication is given of the meaning by the words Jesus spoke between these parables. He said this just before he spoke this parable, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you, and to you who hear more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” He is saying, “These words I have spoken to you, understand; commit them to memory, pay great attention to them. Pay the greatest attention to my words and so digest them that you may be able to teach them to others. The more diligent you are, the more your reward in knowledge, wisdom, strength and happiness. Carelessness will cause you to become unfaithful, fail to keep the faith and not finish the course. He said these things because in the parable of the sower we are told three classes of people who hear the gospel will not be successful. One group will not respond at all to the word; the other two groups will respond, but fall way because of life's troubles, persecutions and pleasures(Matthew 13:1-9).. I agree with those who think this parable is talking about the spiritual growth people make who respond to the gospel, and carry it out in
their lives..Some will fail, but some will not fail. In this parable it is presumed that the seed is sown in good soil or good ground, and will bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold and some a hundred. Jesus has revealed several important truths in this parable.
For one thing He has revealed a well known truth of agriculture.
Jesus said a man sows seed and then goes about his daily activities along with sleeping and rising. After a few days the seed comes to life and springs up into a new plant. It springs up and in time produces wheat. But man does not know how this takes place. Can you make a seed germinate? Germination is a mystery beyond human knowledge. How it is done we know not. After much scientific research, not one has been able to tell the way in which grain germinates, grows and becomes wheat. We can see the changes. We can see the necessity of rain , sunlight, feritilizing, cultivation and weeding, but beyond this we cannot go and cannot know. It is one of God's creative mysteries.
Secondly, Jesus used this mysterious process of seed planting and wheat growing to teach us an important truth about planting the word of God in human hearts. We cannot explain the mystery of spiritual growth, creating people anew in Christ and the amazing spiritual growth that can develop into a beautiful Christian character. The seed in the parable represents the word of God as revealed in the New Testament. The seed is the gospel of Christ in all of its fulness. It changes people. It brings them to Christ. It brings them to baptism. It causes them to grow spiritually in knowledge, wisdom and understanding and spirituality. But how the word does this we know not. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation” to both Jews and Gentiles. It is equally powerful on all races. It has within it a mysterious power we cannot explain. We can see the changes in people. We can see the need of searching the scriptures, self-examination, teachableness and counseling. Yet we cannot tell how the religious life is created, developed and strengthened. Why does it acts at once on some, while on others it takes a long time. How it works we know not.
God's people are prone to explain this mysterious power as due to the ability of preachers and teachers. Some are great speakers and have charismatic personalities with great minds. They have a powerful influence on people. The secret has something to do with great preaching, we are told. But the Bible says not so. Please turn to I Cor.
3: 5-9). Please turn to Hebrew 4:12.. The power and mystery is in the word, not in preachers and teachers.
Thirdly the sower in the parable represents human responsibility in the work. God will not sow the seed; this is work of man. We are workers in God's field, but we must learn and be patient. Often, it takes time for the word to do its work. Blessed are people who are teachable, who expose themselves to the word by private study, or with the help of personal workers, or attending church services and Sunday school classes. The word often works wonders on people who never expected it to happen.